Brit retailer Currys PC World says sorry for Know How scam

Forced punters to cough extra £40 for pre-configured laptops

167 Reg comments Got Tips?

Currys PC World today apologised for forcing customers to pay an extra £40 for pre-configuration on their laptops that they didn't request – a dodgy practice brought to light by consumer charity Which?

Since 2015 more than a hundred customers have complained to Which? about the aggressive sales tactic.

Despite ordering online or going to a store after seeing an advertised price, customers were told that only laptops already loaded with an operating system, etc remained in the shop, which meant they had to pay more.

One punter was ordered to pay an extra £40 or she'd be sold a blank laptop, Which? said. When another refused to cough and drop the extra cash, the staff member said they would have to charge them £20 for the USB stick.

A grovelling spokesperson for Currys PC World said it was sorry for being rumbled the sales approach: "We are sorry to hear that some customers have been charged for a Knowhow Laptop Set-up service on their new machine when they did not request it.

"While setting up machines in advance enables customers who want the service to benefit from it straight away, it is not something everyone needs.

"We are urgently re-briefing our stores now to remind them that, in the small number of cases where only pre-set-up models are available, customers should not be charged for the service when they buy their laptop."

Currys PC World advised affected customers to contact

Which? said the types of complaints it received suggested a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations under "bait advertising".

There are 31 practices listed as being unfair under the regulation, which state a retailer cannot lure a customer into their stores with special prices if they know they won't be able to honour them.

Currys PC World owner Dixons Carphone reported plunging profits in the six months to December, down to £61m, compared to £154m in the prior year. The drop was chalked up to UK customers skipping mobile upgrades – a move it warned that could trigger further closures across its stores.

Electronics retailing on the high street isn't a great place to be these days: last month PwC failed to find a buyer for gadget emporium Maplin.

That followed the removal of its trade indemnity, as exclusively revealed by El Reg last autumn, due to worries about its overheads coupled with high debt, and the fact it was losing sales to online giants including Amazon. ®

Keep Reading

UK Carphone Warehouse shops set to sling their last phones, 2.9k redundancies hit high street, as Dixons closes all 531 'standalone' sites

CW to live on as a counter in a Curry's, as CEO says: Mobile is 'currently holding back the whole business'

Downwardly mobile? Well, things aren't looking up for Dixons Carphone's phone biz

Sales crash by 20% and that break-even period has just been pushed out by up to another year

Brit mobile network EE follows O2 by ending trading relations with retailer Dixons Carphone

'It’s hard to see how Carphone can turn around its mobile business'

Brits swarm Dixons Carphone for laptops, printers, games consoles, fridges, freezers to weather out COVID-19 storm

Online sales up 72%, but retailer warns of impact of store closures

Dixons Carphone to London Stock Exchange: Yay, we grew 2% in the festive quarter. Oh, hang on, no we didn't

'Clerical error' causes major screw-up... misery loves company at UK's largest 'leccy retailer

Dixons Carphone top brass take 20% pay cut as swathes of Brit workforce furloughed

Exclusive - updated But outgoing Carphone Warehouse staff can't use government support scheme to defer redundancies

Hm. Is it wise to assume 'no material disruption' from 'volatile' UK climate, Dixons Carphone?

Mobile biz is a mess, but we're sticking to revenue guidance

Don't panic: Dixons Carphone's share price crashes 30% after statutory losses hit £329m

CEO talks of 'more pain', 'substantial losses' in Mobile amid industry-wide handset sales meltdown

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020